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Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse)

Interview with Alex Webster from Cannibal Corpse
by Orpheus Spiliotopoulos at 05 December 2004, 8:32 PM

\[Conducted by: Katrina Thompson - 11/22/04 @ The Masquerade in Atlanta, GA - While on tour with Napalm Death, Macabre and Kataklysm]<br>I had a 5 pm appointment to meet with Cannibal Corpse, which I was late to due to driving 8 hours in pouring rain from Memphis to Atlanta and having to change hotels once we got there cause the one I had reserved had piss all over the bathroom.  So after busting ass to get ready, we finally get to the venue and, luckily, Cannibal was still doing their sound check.  We got to watch them finish their sound check, which was kind of like our own private show cause no one was there.  After check, the guys came off stage and came over and Alex Webster (bass) granted me the gift of this interview!

How’s the tour going so far?

Well, everything’s been good so far, we’ve had a couple of little things happen, like, George \[Fisher ] being sick, he had a lung virus,  I believe he still has it but its starting to go away.  So we did half our shows instrumental, with a few guest singers, including Maurizio from Kataklysm, which was in Pittsburgh. So that was a little bit different for us, but fortunately George \[Fisher ] started feeling a little bit better and we were able to carry on as normal.  

I would have like to have seen that show.  

Yeah, it was interesting, it’s not the way that we would normally want to play, but we appreciate everybody’s help that helped us that day.

What’s the strangest thing to ever happen while on tour?

There’s been strange things here, strange things there.  Whenever someone asks me that question it’s always hard to remember a particular thing.  

What pops out in your head first?  

It’s hard to tell, the thing that pops out right now is that it was really weird playing a show without George \[Fisher ].  But, for us, nothing too bad actually, we’ve always had pretty normal smooth running shows most of the time, there’s never really been anything too crazy. We’ve had various things thrown at us, like projectiles like a beer can. One time somebody threw some sort of sex toy, I can’t remember, it was a while back, but we were just like oh great.  But nothing too much though, what makes our shows so crazy is what the fans are doing. I mean, what we’re doing is pretty much the same every night; we’re just trying to be as intense as we can be out there.  But the road is not as crazy as people think, we don’t party a whole lot, partying can make things a whole lot crazier.

 How did you guys spawn the idea of Cannibal Corpse?  

Me and Jack \[Owen] were in a band that was a death metal extreme hardcore mixture called Beyond Death. The other guys were in a death metalish band, it was death-thrash I guess you could say, called Tirant Sin. Those bands were local bands in Buffalo, NY.  So we were all friends with each other, and we had all experienced playing live and everything, and each of those bands did a couple dozen shows around Buffalo and the Buffalo area. So when we got together we already sort of had a head start, there were line up changes, being a bunch of young guys and some bands change line ups all the time. Cannibal Corpse was the fusion of those two bands.  We were already very interested in brutal music way before we got Cannibal together; we had all been playing it for a couple of years. So, that’s how we got together, just the fusion of a couple Buffalo area bands.

What were your musical influences growing up, what music inspired you to become musicians?

Well, when I was really young, I just listened to like my father’s old rock albums from the 50’s like Elvis, Chuck Berry, stuff like that.  Then I got into all kinds of different stuff, even stuff like Devo that we listened to when we were young, it’s weird what you listen to when you’re kids and what you end up listening to.  Then I started listening to stuff like AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer, Venom, that kind of stuff.  Then it lead up to Death Metal, like Blood Feast, Kreator, Sodom, Celtic Frost, bands like that. All the bands that were progenitors in Death Metal were the ones that we listened to. When I was listening to Kreator and Sodom I considered them to be Death Metal, I felt like Death Metal was already started before I  heard, say like, Death or Morbid Angel, I already thought that Kreator and Sodom had already started Death Metal.

Since you all contribute in song writing, what inspires the ideas for your lyrics?

We just try to think of bad things.  

I mean, it’s almost like you guys share one brain when it comes to song writing.

Well, definitely, for the lyrics, we’ll sit around and brainstorm song titles, cause when you get a could song title, it gives you something to write about.  Jack \[Owen], when he would write the lyrics, a lot of times he would write the lyrics first and then come up with a song title, but for the rest of us, we’d sit around and try to think of titles that are interesting, like that were ear grabbing and that would make you picture something, as soon as you read the song title you might picture something happening. We don’t want the song titles to be vague, most of the time.  We got a couple that are kinda vague, but most of them are very visual, like Sanded Face, you almost immediately think of someone taking a sander and sanding some guy’s face.  Or Hammered Smashed Face, you think of someone getting hit with a hammer.  Or I Cum Blood, that’s easy to picture. We like song titles that don’t leave much to the imagination.

Do you guys come up with the ideas for the album covers or do you let the artist decide?

It’s a little bit of both, but often a lot of times we just let him go with it, like we’ll give him the title and the lyrics for some of the songs for the album and just say here you go, here’s what’s happening, come up with something that reminds you of this, but with things like Live Cannibalism and the box set, those were totally his idea, those were things where there were really no lyrics to draw from, so he just made up his own thing. In general I would say it’s 90% creative control of what’s drawn, but we do give him some suggestions. He’s a killer artist, we’ve always been happy to have him working with us. He’s really helped give our band a kind of character as far as the packaging of our albums goes, you can tell it’s a Cannibal Corpse album cover, usually, when you see it. Where other bands might have different guys doing different styles, we’ve always had the same guy who’s given us our own kind of style.

What was is like to do Ace Ventura?

It was cool, that’s actually been, gosh, 11 years ago, but it was cool, very strange.  

What was Jim Carrey’s reaction to you guys?  

He was cool, he was the one actually that knew about us, so he had us come out and do it, it was pretty much at his request. We met him those few days of shooting, he was really cool.  

What are your feelings about being banned in Australia, New Zealand & Korea, and being banned from performing any material off the first three albums in Germany, and the fact that  the sale of Butchered At Birth is outlawed completely there?

Honestly, I don’t know the status of those first 3 countries cause we have played Korea, just a couple of years ago, and there was no problem. I believe that maybe that info is continued to be released that without anyone really checking into it. Because I’m not aware of any continuing bans in Australia or New Zealand, although I could be wrong, and I’m pretty sure the ban in Korea has been lifted. However, the thing in Germany is still going, and that is we can’t play songs from the first 3 albums at all, it’s disappointing, but…

Do you think it will ever be lifted?  

I hope it would cause that’s one of our favorite places to play, Germany is a great heavy metal country, all different kinds of metal do well there, including death metal, so not being able to really do a proper set has been frustrating.

What band would you like to see reunite?

It would be nice to see Possessed get back together, or Blood Feast, they get back together every once in a while.  For me, personally, I’d like to see Blood Feast play again.  There are a bunch of good bands that shouldn’t have broken up, but I would like to see Possessed get back together.

What are some of your favorite new bands and what’s your point of view on Death Metal now days?

There are a lot of great bands, I’d say the talent level has gone up quite a bit over the past few years.  With newer bands like Nafex from Brazil, Seventh Savior, Spawn Possession from Sweden, Severe Torture from Holland, Knox from Holland.  Even bands that aren’t so new, but are making waves in the scene over the past 5 years like, Deeds of Flesh, Rebellion from Brazil, all these bands have really killer players.  It’s a bit higher of a level than it was when we were getting going, that’s cool because the better the music gets the more likely it is that the scene will continue to grow.  People aren’t going to be interested in a scene that’s stagnant, but for bands that are consistent and really motivated and good musicians, guys that are ready to push the music forward, then the scene will continue to grow. Those kinds of bands that I mentioned are doing that.

What do you enjoy doing on your time off?

Well, I’m married, so I like to spend a lot of time with my wife, of course. She and I like to travel, when we get the chance we’ll try and take inexpensive trips just for fun and she takes pictures of that. We also all try to stay in pretty good shape, Paul \[Mazurkiewicz] plays hockey sometimes, Pat \[O’Brien] likes to go shooting and hunting, stuff like that.  For me, I like working out, I’ve been doing some martial arts stuff for awhile now, so I just like to run, I like to go mountain biking, there’s no mountains in Florida, but there are trails and swamps and stuff like that.  Personally, I  like playing bass for recreation anyway, when I’m home I might play stuff that’s a little less rigid than Death Metal, just goofing around playing some funk stuff or whatever for fun, just to relax.

After almost 15 years, what can the fans expect in the future from Cannibal Corpse?

Hopefully our best album ever that’s the continuing goal of bands is to make the next album the best one.  So it’ll be more brutal, stuff will be harder to play, hopefully we’ll accomplish that.  I think everybody will be pretty surprised with the next record.

Yeah, I’ve tried to learn some of your bass lines, I’ve been playing bass for a little over 5 years, but its pretty much impossible (everyone laughs) .

Ah, it’s not impossible, but maybe in the future I might actually make a book of tabs and that would make it easier.

You should, cause there are hardly any bass tab books out there, that I can find.

Yeah, there’s not  a lot, definitely none for Death Metal that I know of, actually, so I was thinking of trying to put one together, I just got a computer recently and I’ve been working a lot on some tab programs and trying to figure out which one would be the best for making a book and I’ll see about making a book over the next few months.

Do you have any last words that you’d like to say?

Thank you very much for the support all these years, we really appreciate it, and expect more brutality.



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